WASHINGTON'S SLEEPING GIANT: Independent voters and candidates

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the independent coalition

An overwhelming majority of voters in Washington (75%) say they are open to supporting independent candidates who run for the state legislature. In fact, a generic independent candidate leads both a generic Republican candidate (43%-25%) and a generic
Democratic candidate (35%-27%) in head-to-head matchups.

broad support

The potential base of support for independent candidates extends far beyond independent voters themselves (85%) to large majorities of both Democrats (76%) and Republicans (69%). This potential base includes two-thirds (66%) of those who
say they have voted for “only Democrats” or “only Republicans” in the past.

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The greatest appeal of independent candidates, with 77% agreement, is the notion that they can “represent all of the people, not just those from their party.” Voters also find independents appealing because they can “find common ground and bridge the partisan divide” and they are “not beholden to party bosses and special interests.”


When asked about the best approach for political leaders to follow, a strong plurality of Washington voters (47%) said it was more important for leaders to compromise in order to get things done. Just 22% said it was more important for leaders to stick to their
beliefs even if little gets done in the legislature.